Dr. Fred A Day With Dr. Fred




Dr. Fred's imaginative talks are ideal for introducing all-day school visits. They have also been extremely successful as programming for middle-school science fair or Science Olympiad programming. While the judges are conferring on awards, Dr. Fred transports the students to other worlds.

For a limited time, A Day With Dr. Fred includes a free eight-book set of the MG-YA series Revolutionary Discoveries of Scientific Pioneers, Rosen, 2014.

Dr. Fred will discount his speaking fee by 20% if the school includes his program as part of a Science Celebration or Science Week.

"A Day With Dr. Fred" includes one or two large group assemblies and a series of classroom visits. He offers two "out of this world" special program on astronomy and space exploration:
Either presentation also works well for a community-wide presentation to involve grandparents, parents, and children who go to other schools. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for links to detailed descriptions of the two programs.

Dr. Fred presents "Our Next Planet," August 7, 2002
Photo courtesy Ron Paarmann, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory

QUESTIONS? E-mail Dr. Fred

A word about funding in these difficult economic times
Unlike most author visits, "A Day With Dr. Fred" supports the science curriculum as well as language arts. This may make it possible to fund the visit with a small grant from local businesses, foundations, or industry that rely on or develop scientific or technical personnel. Dr. Fred is willing to assist schools in seeking such funding by providing materials or speaking directly to potential funders for his visit.

Children's author Jennifer Ward's list of sources for grants for educators

For references, rates, or to arrange for "A day with Dr. Fred" click here.

Anonymous feedback from teachers and media specialists who experienced the "Our Next Planet" program at the 10th annual Children's Literature Conference at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, May 5, 2006: Other recent comments:

If you'd like to download a colorful one-page "Day with Dr. Fred" brochure to share with others in your school or town, this link should get you a printable Adobe .pdf version (443 Kbyte).

"Dr. Fred" at Nye Elementary School, Hummelstown, PA, March 23, 2001
Click here to see where Dr. Fred is going and where he's been!
You will also find links to references at that page.


The "Day With Dr. Fred" Program was developed especially to:

If teachers are unfamiliar with or wish to reinforce their knowledge of techniques effective techniques in inquiry-based science teaching, Dr. Fred highly recommends Nurturing Inquiry: Real Science for the Elementary Classroom by Charles R. Pearce (Heinemann, 1999).

coverClick here or on book cover for Amazon.com description of this book.

Program Description

Dr. Fred's visit and his books naturally encourage inquiry. One of his favorite expressions is "follow your questions," and that theme will pervade his visit.

The day begins with an assembly presentation and continues with smaller group sessions driven by student questions. The assembly opens with a rousing "Hello-o-o-o-o, Earthlings!" Dr. Fred's grin and colorful bowtie, plus a bit of friendly coaching, encourages the audience to respond, "Hello-o-o-o-o, Dr. Fred."

Dr. Fred then provokes their curiosity with "Hello-o-o-o-o, Aliens!" and notes their response, pointing out that there may indeed be space aliens among them. Later in the talk, he will reveal who they are -- see "The Day of the Visit" below for more.

Because of the many areas of science and technology on which he has written, Dr. Fred can bring fresh insight to many topics of the curriculum and beyond, including:

Preparations for the Visit

A few weeks prior to the visit, librarians and teachers should begin introducing Dr. Fred's books and his website (www.fredbortz.com).

Pre-visit E-mail Correspondence

[Note: This is available at a modest additional charge.]

A week to ten days prior to the visit, the school will begin an e-mail exchange with Dr. Fred, sending one question per day for up to five days. Before sending any questions, the teacher or librarian who mediates the exchange should discuss with the students what makes a productive question.

Here are some suggestions:

Dr. Fred's e-mail replies will usually have a light tone to show his enthusiasm for the topic and the pleasure of following questions. The correspondence often serves as an ice-breaker, so the students are excited from the moment they see Dr. Fred and his bow tie in their building.

The Day of the Visit -- Opening Assembly

As noted above, Dr. Fred involves the audience immediately with a hearty opening of:


After a pause, Dr. Fred says:
Let's try that again. I say, "Hello-o-o-o-o, Earthlings!" You say, "Hello-o-o-o, Dr. Fred!" Ready?


After another pause:
That's much better! Now let's try something else.


Then, depending on the response, he continues:
What, no aliens out there?
-- OR --
Don't laugh, maybe they really are aliens.

You see, I'm pretty sure there are one or two space aliens out there in the audience. One might even be in the seat next to you.


The mention of space aliens keeps the students hooked as the talk turns scientific. The aliens in the audience are later revealed to be future astronauts who will visit Mars. They will be creatures from another planet, settling in for a visit of probably 18 months.

The Day of the Visit -- Small Group Sessions and Other Activities

Following the talk, Dr. Fred will meet with smaller groups (20-60 students) and discuss their questions from any area of science or writing. He will schedule up to six half-hour sessions or up to nine twenty-minute sessions, depending on the age of the students and the school's needs.

An autographing session is always welcome, as is an end-of-day reception for selected students (chosen in a way that reflects their involvement with science, writing, or both). The selected students should not be required to have bought books, though they should have read one or more of Dr. Fred's books in the school or classroom libraries.

An evening session for parents and teachers can be arranged for a modest additional honorarium.

Suggested Follow-Up Activities

Follow-up activities can include study of the Sun, the Moon, particular planets of the Solar System and some of their moons, comets, asteroids, etc. Individual students can report about the characteristics of one body in the Solar System. They should be encouraged to go beyond the facts and to discuss the scientific questions or techniques that led to those facts.

Alternatively, students could follow up with discussions of Dr. Fred's books (or chapters of a book in the case of TO THE YOUNG SCIENTIST) and how questions are important in every one of them.

A class willing to plan a year-long activity could use DR. FRED'S WEATHER WATCH as a basis for measuring local weather conditions. Students could build home-made devices as described in the book, or the school could provide inexpensive commercial or educational weather instruments. Advanced students or "weather weenies" might be allowed to work with more expensive weather instruments and equipment, interfaced to a computer for keeping and analyzing data logs.

Another long-term activity might be the production of a weekly science newspaper for the school's website. It will enable them to maintain the enthusiasm for inquiry-based science that Dr. Fred hopes to create in his visit.

Additional Information for Schools Considering A Day with Dr. Fred

Dr. Fred will travel from his home in Monroeville, PA, near Pittsburgh, to visit schools anywhere in the United States or Canada. He does not charge for travel expenses in schools he considers to be local. Those include schools within a one-hour drive of Monroeville or near Cleveland or Canton, OH, where Dr. Fred has close family to visit.

For references, rates, or to arrange for "A day with Dr. Fred" click here


For details on Dr. Fred's unique year-long Scientist-Author in Electronic Residence program, click here.

Click for details of the "The Truth About Space Aliens" and the "Our Next Planet" assembly programs.

For excellent general advice on planning an author visit, please click here for two ladies who literally wrote the book on the subject.

Text copyright 2002-8 by Alfred B. Bortz, all rights reserved
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